WESTERN Province slotted an injury-time penalty to snatch victory over the Golden Lions in the final game of the opening game at the Coca-Cola under-16 Grant Khomo rugby week at the University of Johannesburg today.
The win has given Western Province the inside lane for a place in the unofficial final of the week – Thursday’s final fixture.
It was tight for most of the game before the Lions managed to draw clear thanks to an opportunistic try by Devon Henson with 10 minutes to go, but Province struck back immediately with a try of their own, to close the gap to one point.
The hosts looked as if they might hold out, but Provinces’ Tiaan Swanepoel kept his head to kick the penalty from inside his own half to secure the win.
Swanepoel kicked two earlier penalties for Province and scored a try of his own. Their other try was by Edwill Van der Merwe.
The Lions try was scored by Devon Henson. Forrest Roos supplied the conversion and added three penalties and a drop goal.
The win secured Western Province a spot in Tuesday’s late game against the first day’s most impressive side, the Blue Bulls. The Lions were rewarded for their valiant efforts with a match against Free State, so they are alsostill in the running for a place in Thursday’s final game of the week.
The Bulls beat the Griffons 17-5, but the scoreline does not accurately reflect their dominance. They have a big, skillfull side, with plenty of pace in the backs and it’s going to take a good side to stop them.
They scored tries through Samuel Mitchell, Tristan Nel and Wildon Marsh. Nel added a conversion.
The Griffons’ try was scored by Gerrie Muller.
As is the case with all of SA Rugby’s Youth weeks, the Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week is a festival, with no overall winner, so appearing in the week’s concluding fixture is the only real prize up for grabs.
Tuesday’s two late games are sizing up as elimination games for that honour.
Among the other winners on day one were Free State, who were made to work hard for their 29-7 win over the Valke, and Eastern Province, who beat SWD 24-18 in a cracking game between two quality sides.
“All Coca-Cola Youth Weeks, of which there are four, are aimed at identifying and nurturing talent within South Africa,” said Coca-Cola SA Marketing Asset Manager, Craig Van Niekerk. “Seeing players progress through the various Coca-Cola Rugby Youth Weeks is amazing and we are proud to be the sponsor to make this transition possible.”
Griquas Country 25 Border Country 22, KwaZulu-Natal 22 Pumas 19, Leopards 20 Namibia 0, Blue Bulls17 Griffons 5, Boland 23 Border 15, Eastern Province 24 SWD 18, Zimbabwe 21 Lions XV 18, Limpopo 54 Griquas 10, Western Province 21 Golden Lions 19.
A field – 10.30am Border v Limpopo, 11.45am Boland v Pumas, 1pm Eastern Province v Kwazulu-Natal, 2.15pm Free State v Lions, 3.30pm Western Province v Blue Bulls.
B field – 10.30am Border Country v Griquas, 11.45am Lions XV v Namibia, 1pm Zimbabwe v Griquas Country, 2.15pm Griffons v Valke, 3.30pm SWD v Leopards.